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Monday, August 11, 2014

Helping seniors to managing medications, why elderly have hard time with prescriptions, understanding, taking and managing

Living independently is important to all of us, but especially to seniors. As they age, seniors face unique challenges, such as losing a spouse and elderly friends, changes in physical and mental abilities, and other general lifestyle changes that often occur during the golden years. Living in a comfortable and familiar environment becomes paramount to a senior’s happiness and feelings of well-being. As the relative, friend or caregiver of a senior, it is important for you to help seniors achieve this goal.

One area that deserves special attention with seniors is managing medications they take. Chances are the number of medications they are required to take increases with age, as seniors are often prone to medical conditions that are regulated by medicine. Taking the medications is important. However, it is equally important for seniors and their family caregivers to understand what medicine the senior takes, to become knowledgeable about side effects, and also to determine whether there appear to be adverse effects of taking different types of medications at the same time. Mismanagement of medications can be detrimental and sometimes even life threatening.

Medication mismanagement can be minimal or extreme. Forgetting to take medication can cause obvious problems but may not be of great concern if it does not happen often. But, combining some types of medicines can cause critical adverse reactions and if a senior is required to take painkillers, addiction can raise its ugly head. For these reasons it becomes essential to keep seniors well informed of the hazards mismanagement of medications can cause and to keep the doctor informed all of medications the senior is taking and of any apparent adverse side effects.

Signs of medication misuse include dizziness, nausea, confusion and memory issues, increased falls, troubled sleeping patterns, incontinence, and even hallucinations. Malnutrition can also indicate improper medicine administration, because confused seniors may not eat properly. Seniors who become addicted to painkillers may become secretive regarding their use of those drugs and seek prescriptions from various doctors and pharmacies. In extreme but not uncommon cases, some medications – when mixed – can cause death.

Seniors who have trouble successfully managing medications are not alone. In fact, research indicates that approximately 40% of people entering nursing homes do so because they are unable to self-medicate in their homes. In addition, 30% of all hospital admissions for people over age 65 are directly attributable to missed doses or overdoses of medication.

With these statistics in mind, the medical community has offered advice and other solutions to help seniors manage medications in their own homes. When family members visit, it is an opportunity to remind seniors to take their meds at designated times. If possible, seniors are encouraged to keep logs of the times they take their medications in order to keep track, determine the time of their next dose and to prevent over-dosage. Home health care companies, such as Comfort Keepers®, offer solid solutions in the form of medication reminder devices. The Safety Choice® TabSafe Medication System by Comfort Keepers stores medication and dispenses the proper dosage into a locked drawer at the bottom of the unit. If a dose is missed, the unit places a call to designated Comfort Keeper or other contact persons who can then call to remind loved ones to take their medicine. If no one is reached, a call to the monitoring station prompts a call or visit to the client or caregiver.

The use of one or all of these strategies can assist seniors who take multiple medications. It is also essential to make sure their doctors know of all medications seniors take so they can coordinate care and prescribe additional medicine, when needed, that will not cause adverse effects when combined with other meds. Others should keep a close eye on seniors who take medications to ensure seniors are properly administering their own meds.

Research shows seniors who live alone are more likely to inadvertently misuse medications. Knowledge is power, but control is key regarding medication management. The reward in helping seniors properly manage their medication is helping them achieve their ultimate goal of living healthy, independent lives in their own homes for as long as possible.

References
Comfort Keepers (2012). Safety choice® products. Retrieved on February 10, 2012, from http://www.comfortkeepers.com/technology-solutions/safetychoice-products.
Agingcare.com (2012). Seniors and prescription drug addiction. Retrieved on February 10, 2012 from http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/help-for-elderly-prescription-addictio....
Agingcare.com (2012). Surprising list of medications cause majority of senior overdoses. Retrieved on February 10, 2012 from http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/senior-drug-overdose-148701.htm.
Caregivingstress.com (2012). The warning signs. Retrieved on February 10, 2012 from http://www.caregiverstress.com/senior-safety/health-information-manageme....
Marek, Karen Dorman. Ph.D., M.B.A., R.N., F.A.A.N. Antle, Lisa. A.P.R.N., B.C., A.P.N.P
U.S. National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health (2012). Chapter 18 medication management of the community-dwelling older adult. Retrieved on February 11, 2012, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2670/.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Special Pension Aging Veterans - Get help in home if you qualify

Comfort Keepers® Is Honored to Serve Our Nation’s Veterans

Home Care for VeteransWe feel privileged to provide home care for veterans who served our nation in its time of need. We provide you with the information to work through the paperwork to help you avoid potential pension claim delays. Once you become an approved participant in a VA program, Comfort Keepers will provide the quality home care and companionship our veterans deserve. There are several veteran in-home care programs for which an individual may qualify:
  • Improved Pension Benefit Program
  • Homemaker/Home Health Aide Program
  • In-Home Respite Program

Who Qualifies?

If you or your spouse served 90 consecutive days of active military duty – at least one of those days during a U.S. declared war – you may qualify or be partially qualified.
Other qualifications include specific financial criteria and documented physical need for in-home care.
To begin the application process, you will need:
  • Original discharge certificate
  • Marriage certificate (divorce papers from any prior marriages, if applicable)
  • Death certificate of veteran (if applicable)
  • Social Security numbers for the veteran and spouse
If you think you may qualify for one of the VA programs, give Comfort Keepers in Springfield PA a call at 610-543-6300 or go to our website at www.comfortkeepers.com/office-326/ to get more information.

Monday, August 4, 2014

What is respite care?

Despite its rewards, serving as a senior’s primary caregiver can be demanding and stressful. Many others are in the same situation. An estimated 44 million Americans — accounting for 21 percent of all U.S. households — regularly care for an elderly relative or friend. Family and friends provide an estimated 80 percent of senior care.
There are many resources available to you. In the interest of your overall health — and that of your family and the person you are caring for — don’t approach caregiving responsibilities as if you are alone.

Respite Care: Relief for the Family

No matter how much you love the person you are caring for, you need regular breaks from caregiving. Nonstop caregiving will drain your energy and take a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health.
If you will not do it for yourself, please consider that respite care also benefits the person you are caring for. After a break, you will return refreshed and more effective.
A respite could be just a day away with friends, an afternoon of personal errands or an exercise break. Or it could be a vacation away from it all. To continue reading this click HERE.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Delco Chamber offers FREE Women Networking August 6th

Not too late to sign up for the FREE networking, coffee connections in morning open to everyone and then trade show and then Women In Business at lunch time - business card exchange. Come out one and all - this is FREE event.

http://delcochamber.org/events/Business-Trade-Show-55360/details

Monday, July 7, 2014

Medication Management System: From pill box to a machines

Medication management is one of the most critical issues facing seniors who live independently. It is a real safety concern for those whose everyday health and wellbeing depend on taking the right dose of the right medication at the right time.
According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, more than one-third of medication-related hospitalizations are due to patients not taking their medicines as directed. Additionally, medication non-adherence has also been associated with as much as 40 percent of nursing home admissions, notes the American Pharmacists Association.

Medication management can be a pill box to a complex medication dispensing machine. Sometimes a person cannot manage a pill box due to eye sight or memory issues. This may be time to start to think about the dispenser or an aide to come in the home and make sure the right meds are taken.

When I am asked about dispensing machines the first question I ask is what does your loved one need? If I am told it is significant memory issue where the person is forgetting to take the meds I talk to the family about what the medication dispenser can do and what it cannot do.

What it cannot do is make sure those meds get into the mouth. It can send signal to the family if the dispensed meds are not picked up from machine but no family can be assured that if they meds are picked up they made it to person's mouth. Sometimes seniors will take the meds off dispenser go into another room sit the cup down and forget to take them. This behavior means you need an aide, a physical person to come into the room and watch the person take them.

If you have questions feel free to contact me. The medication dispenser is helpful but with all care we need to talk about what does the loved one really need. Often what we think will solve the problem does not. Talking it out we can come up with creative solution to solve the problem usually.

Friday, July 4, 2014

#HappyJuly4th wishing you and yours great holiday

Best wishes for safe and healthy July 4th weekend. Please remember our service men and women and their families. #thankyouveterans

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why am I always so cold?

As you grow older, you feel chilly -- or even downright cold -- more easily and more often. What causes this, and what does it mean for your overall health?
Chances are, your body is merely going through a natural dip in metabolic rate due to the aging process. A lowered metabolic rate affects the body's ability to maintain what is considered a normal temperature of 98.6 degrees. When metabolism slows, so does the body's ability to generate heat. This means seniors can become cold outdoors in the sun during summer or indoors in a well-heated room during winter.

 
There are other reasons a senior may be unduly cold. Encourage him to seek medical advice in order to properly diagnose the reason he is unable to stay warm. Hypothyroidism and cardiovascular disease are chronic medical conditions that affect body temperature. If an underlying medical condition is the reason for the senior's chills, help her take necessary steps to manage it accordingly. It is important to note that, regardless of the reason, the body's inability to stay warm can lead to hypothermia if body temperature reaches 95 degrees or below. Seniors in frail health are more susceptible to hypothermia, even when the room temperature is 71-75 degrees.

Whether being cold is the result of slowed metabolism or a medical condition, older adults must stay warm to maintain an appropriate body temperature. Nearly half of the elderly who develop hypothermia die from its effects. Therefore, we suggest that sweaters should be staples for both men and women. While he should not bundle up so much that he overheats, keeping a cozy blanket nearby helps a senior during times of low activity in the home. Encourage the senior to wear cap or scarf when going outdoors. Gloves are a must during cold months. Enjoy large meals during cold weather, as the digestive process generates heat within the body. Warm drinks such as hot chocolate can help. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as they cause the body to lose heat.

With a little education, one can determine which changes are parts of the natural aging process versus changes that may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention. The key to aging gracefully is knowing what changes seniors will experience as they age and how these changes affect the body. While you can't halt the aging process, you can be prepared.
This article taken from www.comfortkeepers.com